On Monday, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno died at the age of 78. Reno was the first female U.S. Attorney General to ever serve in that position. Her cause of death was from complications related to Parkinson’s disease.
Reno came from very humble beginnings. She was born in Miami, FL and practically grew up in the Everglades. Nobody could have ever predicted that she would lead such a successful life and become part of American history as the first female attorney general.
During her time as attorney general, she had to face two difficult situations. The first was in 1993 when federal officials raided a compound in Waco, Texas that belonged to a religious cult leader. The second was in 2000 when a young Cuban refugee named Elian Gonzalez was taken by the government and became involved an international custody fight.
Reno was best known for her ability to show her integrity and take responsibility for actions that may have been wrong. She served two terms as attorney general during the administration of President Bill Clinton. No attorney general in the 150 years before her had ever served this position that long. However, many critics still believe she gave protection to President Bill Clinton in 1997 by not allowing an investigation to be made by an independent counsel into the allegations that the Clinton administration performed improper fund-raising practices.
President Clinton let Reno stay on as attorney general during his second presidential term. Many Republicans in Congress felt that Reno was not agreeing to an independent counsel because Clinton let her stay on the job. But according to her, she reviewed the evidence of the fund-raising practices and did not think a special counsel was necessary.
Reno will surely be missed by those who respected her work and were inspired by her commitment to defying the odds that were against her in her political career.